wreath

A wreath-laying ceremony took place Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda in memory of more than 1,000 Kentuckians who have died with complications from the coronavirus. A handbell choir from a Methodist church in Frankfort performs "My Old Kentucky Home" prior to the wreath being laid. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A solemn wreath-laying ceremony took place in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday morning to mark the death of more than 1,000 Kentuckians due to the coronavirus.

Part of Gov. Andy Beshear’s ongoing message to Kentuckians is to light the outside of homes and businesses green, the color of compassion, and to ring bells at 10 o’clock each morning to honor those who passed away due to COVID-19. 

The Thursday ceremony began with the Handbell Ensemble from First United Methodist Church in Frankfort, who played the chorus of “My Old Kentucky Home.”

A member of the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard then performed the formal wreath-laying, which took place at the foot of the Abraham Lincoln statue in the center of the Rotunda.

Although earlier computer models had indicated more Kentucky deaths from the coronavirus, Beshear has said reaching the 1,000 level is still a huge tragedy. “Much more than we lost in either Vietnam or the Korean War. This is devastating. It doesn’t mean, given the opponent we are facing, that we are not doing a good job. It just means that we have to recognize how much this hurts those around us.”

Beshear said each one of the coronavirus victims is more than just a number. “They are one of us, and no matter how old they were, they deserve time. No matter what other complicating health factors that they had, this played a part in it, and we owe it to them to work hard and make sure that we limit the future casualties that we have.”

To honor the more than 1,000 Kentucky victims of COVID-19, the governor has also ordered the flags at all state office buildings to be lowered to half-staff for one week starting Thursday and is urging Kentuckians to do the same at their homes and businesses.

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